County Executive Isiah Leggett was joined today by County Council Vice President Craig Rice to kick off April as Child Abuse Prevention Month. They urged residents to help families and children in Montgomery County through the “Power of One” campaign. The backdrop for today’s event was a sea of blue pinwheels, which are part of a national campaign “Pinwheels for Prevention.” Blue is the color designated for child abuse and the pinwheels serve as a reminder of childhood and the bright future that all children deserve.
“The message of the campaign is simple,” said Leggett. “One person can make a difference in a child’s life. We as a community should do everything we can to raise awareness that child abuse happens in our community and that includes reporting it. We can also help children affected by abuse and neglect through foster parenting and adoption.”
In 2012, there were more than 1,500 children in Montgomery County abused or neglected by their caretakers and there were more than 2,500 investigations into reports of suspected abuse or neglect.
“About five children in our nation die every day as a result of child abuse,” said Rice. “This campaign emphasizes that ONE person can save a life, making a choice to make a difference, whether it is through reporting suspected abuse or caring for an at-risk child. We all must do our part to help children in our community.”
The campaign recognizes that one person can make a difference in the life of a child or struggling family by becoming a foster parent or mentor, by reporting suspected abuse or neglect, by taking time to listen to a parent having a difficult time coping or by adopting a child from the community.
“Montgomery County has a committed group of foster and adoptive parents and child welfare staff who every day help abused children,” said Agnes Leshner, senior administrator for Child Welfare Services, part of the County’s Department of Health and Human Services. “But, we are also asking each person to think about how they can help children and families who are in need right here in our community.”
In addition to the Power of One campaign, residents are urged to register for the “Tour de Cookie,” a 14 or 40-mile bike ride on Sunday, April 14 that begins and ends at Montgomery College, Rockville Campus. Proceeds from the bike ride will benefit the Tree House Child Advocacy Center for Montgomery County. A public-private partnership, the Tree House is dedicated to reducing trauma and promoting healing for child victims of physical and sexual abuse, and neglect. For more information, go to www.TourDeCookie.com.
The “Power of One” campaign is sponsored by Prevent Child Abuse, a national organization.
For more information on how to get involved, please call Child Welfare Services at 240-777-3500.
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Media Contact: Mary Anderson, 240-777-6534 (301-529-7669 cell)
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